Dubbed the ‘Kyle Rittenhouse Appreciation Rally,’ the event took place on Saturday afternoon at Washington Square Park in Salt Lake City, between 12 and 2 p.m. Judging by a Facebook flyer, it appears as if attendees were encouraged to arrive armed, though it’s unclear if that was the case based on photos from Twitter.
The event was sponsored by Stand Up For Your Constitutional Rights, as well as other right-wing militia groups based in the area. The flyer told participants to “bring banners, 2A flags, and freedom flags” to celebrate “your rights to defend your cities.” The hosts were also kind enough to supply hot chocolate and desserts for attendees.
Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges after being tried for fatally shooting two people and injuring a third person. Last August, he brought an AR-15 rifle to a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Kenosha, Wisconsin that was protesting the police following the shooting of Jacob Blake. His lawyers argued that Rittenhouse opened fire in self-defense.
The Proud Boys and other conservative groups have since embraced Rittenhouse following his arrest, his trial, and his acquittal. However, in November, Rittenhouse said he was “set up” by his former lawyer for orchestrating a meeting with the Proud Boys. The interaction was photographed and later went viral in January 2021.
“I found out they were Proud Boys when I saw the headlines,” Rittenhouse told NewsNation. “I thought they were just a bunch of, like, construction dudes based on how they looked.”